Godly Or Ungodly

By Jack Glover

How blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked, nor stand in the path of sinners, nor sit in the seat of scoffers! But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night. He will be like a tree firmly planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in its season and its leaf does not wither; and in whatever he does, he prospers.

The wicked are not so, but they are like chaff which the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the assembly of the righteous. For the Lord [e]knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.

Psalms 1 describes two classes of people. One is blessed; the other will perish. Those who will be blessed are so because their delight is in the law of the Lord. Those who will perish are ungodly and will not stand in the judgment.

Paul said when Jesus returns it will be in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God (ungodly) and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (II Thess. 1:8). Other scriptures make like statements.

The world is filled with ungodly people who perform ungodly acts. It has been that way from the beginning. Enoch prophesied, “Behold, the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones, to execute judgment upon all, and to convict all the ungodly of all their ungodly deeds which they have done in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.” (Jude 1:14-15).

Each person has the choice to be godly or ungodly, but he cannot be some of each. We live in a nation that boasts hundreds of different forms of religion. All claim to be godly. In light of the scriptures, is that even close to being a possibility? It is unreasonable to think all can be godly when each one teaches a different gospel. Their doctrines are fraught with teachings of man that came from various sources.

Jesus told the Pharisees, “You hypocrites, rightly did Isaiah prophesy of you: ‘This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far away from Me. But in vain do they worship Me, teaching as doctrines the precepts of men'” (Matt. 15:7-9). And to those who listened to the sermon on the mount, he said, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter” (Matt. 7:21).

Saying and doing are two different things. God requires obedience, not lip service. As the psalm says, the godly “delight in the law of the Lord,” not doctrines of men.

The lack of respect for God and His word has led our nation (and many others) toward ruin. We are a people who do not delight in His word. Although we say we are godly, many of our actions say differently. We think we can toss God out and still call on Him in times of difficulty, trouble or disaster. Oh, how we deceive ourselves!

Remember, the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous. Peter said, “For the time is come for judgment to begin at the house of God: and if it begin first at us, what shall be the end of them that obey not the gospel of God? And if the righteous is scarcely saved, where shall the ungodly and sinner appear?” (I Pet. 4:17-18)

The reward is to the godly.

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Admonitions And Incentives

By Jack Glover

Why do we need to obey commandments from God? Most importantly, because God, as creator of heaven and earth, has the right to require certain things of His creation. In spite of our attitude toward God, no man has the right to question His authority over His creation (Rom. 9:20-21).

But even though He has the right to issue commands, and punish those who disobey them, God still provides incentives for obedience. The following list provides some of them.

  • “So that you may have success wherever you go” (Josh. 1:8): After Moses’ death, God commanded Joshua, “Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel” (1:2). He further said in verse 8, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it; for then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have success.” Joshua was responsible for leading Israel in the conquest of Canaan, but success was an incentive for obedience. Would he have been successful if he had not followed the law? We all want to be successful in life. If your conquests seem to be failing, you may need to check your obedience to God’s law, the New Testament. False service brings no reward (Matt. 7:21).
  • The goodness of God: The Jews were God’s chosen people and felt above the Gentiles because of that knowledge. They routinely judged the Gentiles as being sinners when they were guilty of the same sins. God had shown his mercy and goodness many times to Israel, yet they never seemed to learn the lesson “that the kindness of God leads you to repentance”? (Rom. 2:4) God’s continual goodness, forbearance and longsuffering was an incentive for them to obey His commands, but their pride ruled and all they could see were the faults of the other nations, not their own. Four times in Psalms 107, it is said: “Let them give thanks to the Lord for His lovingkindness, and for His wonders to the sons of men!” The goodness of God should be an incentive for our nation (people) to obey Him, for no one has been blessed more than we have, yet like Israel we seem to think this goodness will continue in spite of our resistance to His commands. Paul’s answer to Israel’s attitude was this: “But because of your stubbornness and unrepentant heart you are storing up wrath for yourself in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, who will render to each person according to his deeds” (Rom. 2:5-6). I suspect if we do not recognize his goodness and repent of our evil the same fate will await us.
  • “So that it may be well with you and that you may live long on the earth” (Eph. 6:3): God has always demanded that children honor their parents. A similar statement to the quote above can be found in Deut. 5:16. Obviously God places a great importance on family. The Bible contains instructions for all members of the family, specifying individual obligations for each member. Even the church is often likened to a family, being used as an illustration for certain teachings. Yes, we should naturally love our parents, but an incentive also is supplied to encourage us. That incentive is being well and living long on the earth. We know that a happy family life, where children respect and honor their parents and where other commandments concerning family are obeyed, has its rewards. Fighting families bring no happiness. “A wise son accepts his father’s discipline, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke,” and “a wise son makes a father glad, but a foolish man despises his mother” (Prov. 13:1, 15:20).

God offers us rewards for our obedience. We do not deserve them, nor have we earned anything. We have many incentives to encourage obedience, but if we ignore them and go our own way, punishment will certainly follow.

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Name The Church

By Jack Glover

Christ’s church has a name. I drove past a church building this morning that had no name. Oh, it had some sort of directional name, like the Northside Church or something of that fashion, but that doesn’t tell me anything about who it follows or what it teaches.

Christ said “I will build my church” (Matt. 16:18). That tells me who the church belongs to and what doctrine it teaches, unless someone is falsely applying the name. The Bible always identifies the church by name. Even when we read a passage of scripture where it is termed “the church,” early Christians knew what group of people was being referred to and what their doctrine was.

Today the tendency is to stand for nothing that is offensive to anyone and adjust your doctrine to fit the situation. Thus the name of Christ must be removed from the sign at the meeting place. It seems we would not want anyone to be offended by associating ourselves with the offensive words of our Lord (Matt.15:1-14).

Christians stand with their Master and love doing it. They don’t hide the fact that they love and believe in Him. (John 14:15)

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The Hip-Hop Church

By Jack Glover

Many efforts have been made to make the church fit what man wants instead of man complying with what God wants. At present I’m in Memphis, Tenn., and on yesterday’s local news much was being said about the hip-hop church.

I gather (from local news comment) that some hip-hop churches exist in Memphis, but the news was about a Catholic priest in New York and the hip-hop church he has started. The report included the reading of some of Psalm 23 as rewritten in hip-hop language, and showed some of their hip-hop dancing and singing as worship.

Do you suppose God was pleased?

Now before you go all bananas on me, notice a few things from the scriptures. God, not man, determines how He is to be worshiped (John 4:24), He has said what to include in worship to himand how to do it. The worship is to: 1) be orderly (I Cor.14:4); 2) include singing (without instruments), teaching, prayer, the Lord’s Supper and contributions (on the first day of the week); and 3) be edifying, according to truth.

Read I Corinthians 14, and you will see that even those who spoke in tongues (a spiritual gift at the time) had to follow God’s regulations. Worship always has been bound by His scriptures, and when man added something new or changed it, the worship was never acceptable to God.

Remember worship is to please God, not man.

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What Is Truth?

By Jack Glover

What is truth? It seems that is a good question to ask because trust does not abound in our society.

Our government is full of men who have made us question the validity of what they say. We are forced to question our leaders, from the local level to federal level. Corporations are not trusted to give accurate information concerning their products or accounting. Distrust exists among families — between wives and husbands, and between children and parents. The divorce rate continues to increase; drugs and alcohol replace love of family; and we try to solve all of our problems with pills.

Among all this there remains one trustworthy standard. When Jesus was asked “What is truth?”, the answer rang clear from His lips: “Thy word is truth” (John 17:17).

In spite of the fact that many times it is taught falsely, or misinterpreted, the fact remains that the truth still exists. It is there for all to find who sincerely want it. We remain firmly convinced that God’s truth is present for all to find and apply in their actions or decisions in this life.

When it looks as if there is no one to trust, let God show you the way through His word.

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Do You Justify Sin?

By Jack Glover

Jesus made the following accusation against the Pharisees: “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is highly esteemed among men is an abomination in the sight of God” (Luke 16:15).

We live in a time when sin is justified. We expect this from the world, but our goal for the church is higher. Christians do not partake of sin (I John 5:18), nor do they seek ways to justify it in others. We should be willing to suffer for good rather than justify evil. Christians are to “test all things; hold fast what is good” (I Thess. 5:21).

It appears that we are rapidly approaching the justification of evil by Christians. We are not speaking of those who falsely claim to be servants of God and are not, like the Pharisees, but members of His church. Some are beginning to justify sin under the guise of doing good?

Note this excerpt from a Soulforce press release from March 27 about an “equality ride”:

ABILENE, Texas — Equality Riders completed a full day of presentations, discussions and worship with students at Abilene Christian University today, the first school to allow the riders full access to campus. The school, affiliated with the Church of Christ, has about 4,000 undergraduate and 800 graduate students studying in a range of liberal arts and professional programs.

Soulforce describes the ride like this: “The Soulforce Equality Ride is a journey to change the heart and mind of America on the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. Following in the footsteps of the Freedom Rides of the 1960s, the Equality Ride uses principles of non-violence to confront military and religious colleges and universities with policies banning enrollment of LGBT students.

The Equality Riders reflect on the lessons of history, which have shown past religion-based discrimination against women, people of color and religious minorities to be an unacceptable abuse of the sanctity of religion. At each of the 19 schools on the 51-day bus tour, the young adult ambassadors of the Equality Ride bring this simple message to students, faculty and administrators: Learn from history; end religion-based discrimination.

The goal of ride is easy enough to understand. It “is a journey to change the heart and mind of America on the issue of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.” In other words, they want the equal right to attend and promote their way of life in all schools (religious, military, etc.). Anyone who thinks they will not promote their sexual ways simply have their heads in the sand.

Their goal is to openly advocate things that are condemned as sin in the scriptures. During a recent Easter egg roll at the White House, same-sex parents brought their children and wore leas to show others they were same-sex parents. They could have come and enjoyed the festivities with no one ever knowing their sexuality, but that was not good enough for them. They had to use this event not just for their children but also to advocate that a sinful lifestyle is acceptable.

Two ACU officials issued statements about why the school allowed this group on campus:

  • Wayne Barnard, associate provost for student development and dean of campus life: “This is an opportunity to proclaim the message of Christ in love. As followers of Christ, we love all people, even those with whom we might disagree. We should always be prepared to give a reason for our faith, and our students need to witness Christ-followers engaging other views with calm assurance of God’s truth. Jesus talked to people with whom he did not agree, and as His ambassadors, we can do the same.”
  • ACU president Royce Money: “After careful consideration and discussions about who we are as a university, we decided the best way to affirm our core Christian values would be to treat Soulforce as Christ would — to have peaceful, patient dialogue about these issues while respectfully and clearly articulating why we believe as we do.”

Soulforce members said they knew ACU continued to affirm the belief throughout the day that God intended sexual relations as an expression of love between a married man and woman. They also agreed that ACU offered the love of Christ, despite theological and academic disagreements.

We agree that Jesus talked with sinners, at times even ate with them. It is my understanding that is why He came to earth (Matt. 9:10-13, I Tim. 1:15). They also killed Him (Matt. 26:45), and God doesn’t hear them (John 9:31). There is a way to teach or deal with sinners like Jesus did — Matthew 23 is a good example — but the Bible doesn’t seem to describe it as the ACU event was described.

In our effort to show charity, or be open-minded with groups that advocate sinful lifestyles, we must be careful that we do not allow the attitudes of society to influence our decisions. The following scripture makes a good point:

But the goal of our instruction is love from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. For some men, straying from these things, have turned aside to fruitless discussion, wanting to be teachers of the Law, even though they do not understand either what they are saying or the matters about which they make confident assertions.

But we know that the Law is good, if one uses it lawfully, realizing the fact that law is not made for a righteous person, but for those who are lawless and rebellious, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who kill their fathers or mothers, for murderers and immoral men and homosexuals and kidnappers and liars and perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound teaching, according to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, with which I have been entrusted. (I Tim. 1:5-11)

We don’t have to fellowship sin in order to teach the sinner.

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‘The Book Of Daniel’

By Jack Glover

UPDATE, Jan. 31: It’s gone! NBC has announced that after three episodes, “The Book of Daniel has been cancelled. The main reason seems to be the rejection of the show by sponsors, as well as some NBC affiliates refusing to air it. Many letters of protest were received. When the networks, or others, who are trying to make the country another Corinth get hit in the pocketbook, it can make a difference.

Have you seen “The Book of Daniel”? Please notice that I asked if you had seen, not read, “The Book of Daniel.” I am speaking of the television show that began airing on NBC at 9 p.m., Jan. 6.

I will not go into all the details of the series except to say it seems to justify everything evil and ridicule things that are good. That might not be a surprise for a TV show, but it is another sign of the extent to which networks are going in the name of entertainment.

I realize that things have come to the place that almost all TV shows (and movies) have some things in them that we would rather not see, or hear, because that is what the world in general wants to see and hear. The networks, and movie studios, know this and continue to increase their sinful topics. Our nation that a few years ago would not allow any of this on TV, and little in movies, now justifies such under the guise of free speech.

How does the Christian deal with this avalanche of adultery, filthy speech, homosexuality and such like? Here is some Biblical advice:

  • Learn to run. “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body” (I Cor. 6:18).
  • Recognize your weakness. “Now flee from youthful lusts and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart” (II Tim. 2:22).
  • Realize that some things will keep you out of heaven. 1) “Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God” (Gal. 5:19-21); and 2) “Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor the covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, will inherit the kingdom of God” (I Cor. 6:9-10).
  • Don’t laugh at sin. “And although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them” (Rom. 1:32).
  • Fight back against evil in our society. “Fight the good fight of faith; take hold of the eternal life to which you were called, and you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses” (I Tim. 6:12).
  • Be an example of righteousness. “Let no one look down on your youthfulness, but rather in speech, conduct, love, faith and purity, show yourself an example of those who believe” (I Tim. 4:12).
  • Know that God will win the battle between good and evil. “But if it is of God, you will not be able to overthrow them; or else you may even be found fighting against God” (Acts 5:39).

This list is not exhaustive. Sin has been with man from the beginning, but that does not make it acceptable or funny. Christians must not encourage it by their acceptance of it. Sin must never become our entertainment.

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I’m Trying To Understand

By Jack Glover

Some things in this life are confusing. It is not uncommon for me to see some TV commercial and, when it is finished, ask someone if they understood the point being made. Well, I must admit that I also am confused about all the news items about using “happy holiday” versus “merry Christmas.” Maybe you can help me out.

It seems in their effort to eliminate any reference to Christ, to religion in general or to be politically correct, many liberal-minded or atheistic people want everyone to quit saying “merry Christmas.” I would be inclined to agree with them if I thought their motives were pure because Christmas as a religious holiday is not a biblical concept. However, I suspect the movement is driven by those who want to eliminate all references to religion from our lives in the same way they have with prayer, displays, words, etc.

What is Christmas? Is it a holiday? Yes, it is a holiday in most parts of the world. Then what is wrong with saying “happy holiday”? As far as I can tell, nothing, as long as no strings are attached. But this movement now among us does attach strings, which is just one more step in taking away our freedom.

If my understanding is correct there are situations when I can be told what expression I must use in reference to December 25. I am required to say “happy holiday” or something similar, but I cannot say “merry Christmas.” Do those who advocate, and are forcing, this position oppose my wishing someone a “happy Thanksgiving” or a happy any other day? I don’t think so.

What is the problem with “merry Christmas”? Could it be because Christ is part of the word? What word or phrase will be next? Do you think it is time to take a stand and put a stop to those who are the ones forcing opinions. I do.

Let us consider another confusing thing. Among those who oppose the “happy holiday” position, some are canceling services on Sunday, December 25. That seems to be a strange position if this is the day we are to reverence Jesus’ birth. Would you not think all the more emphasis would be placed on attending services rather than canceling them?
Continue reading

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Where Is Your Bible?

By Jack Glover

Most of us take having a Bible for granted. We usually have several of them, often of different translations. Yet it probably would be a correct statement to say they are read very little, even by those who claim to be Christians.

Bibles are for sale everywhere in our country, and free copies for our reading are found in many places. If you can not afford a copy, there are numerous places to get a free one.

Now consider living in China, an atheistic country. If you plan to read the Bible, if you can find one, secrecy will be required. Bibles, and reading them, usually bring unwanted consequences there. I read an article a few day ago about some average people and the risk they took in trying to sneak some Bibles into China.

What if our nation became like China? Would you hide, or burn, all those copies of the Bible in your house? Would you want to read it when you couldn’t do so freely?

“Not to worry, that will never happen here,” you say. Oh, was the Bible always prohibited in China?

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Justice Sunday II — The Wrong Focus

By K. Daniel Glover

Several hundred religious-minded political activists gathered at a Baptist Church in Nashville on Sunday for something called Justice Sunday II. A similar event was held in Louisville back in April. The goal of the movement, spearheaded by the Family Research Council, is to draw attention to the role, for good or bad, that the courts play in setting the moral agenda for America.

As a Christian, I find such events misguided. Sunday is the Lord’s Day, and our focus should be on worshiping Him. It’s not the time for a grassroots rally against the government, however right the reasons behind that rally may be.

I thought the same thing several years ago when, as a journalist, I attended the annual Christian Coalition conference and listened to supposedly spiritual people rant, occasionally in vulgar language, about then-President Clinton’s immoralities. I wanted to yank the beam of hypocrisy from their eyes, to rebuke them for condemning one man’s admittedly heinous sins even as they committed their own in the same breath.

Even so, events like Justice Sunday can be edifying for us Christians watching them from afar. Here are some of the lessons we can learn:

Spirituality is not a political endeavor. Just as the apostles at first did not understand that they were soldiering for a heavenly kingdom, too many people in this country focus their energy on fighting for the earthly kingdom we call the United States of America. But we are here to fight for souls — not for judges, or presidents, or congressmen, or even councilmen.

We are to go to battle not draped in political arguments or with the Constitution in hand but wearing “the full armor of God”: truth, righteousness, the gospel of peace, faith, salvation, and the word of God, which is our “sword of the spirit.” Heed the words of Paul: “Put on the full armor of God, so that you will be able to stand firm against the schemes of the devil. For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places” (Eph. 6:11-17).

We should not expect justice in this life. Most men of Jesus’ day rejected His teachings and spurned Him to the point of crucifixion on the cross. He told his apostles to expect the same kind of rejection (John 15:20-21). He also told them to consider persecution a blessing (Matt. 5:10-12), a message that Peter reiterated (I Pet. 4:12-16).

We can and should encourage the leaders of this country to act in ways that are pleasing to God because He has blessed us with citizenship in a country where we can. And we must pray for our leaders because God demands it of us (I Tim. 2:1-3). But we should not lose heart or be distracted from our spiritual warfare when they act foolishly.

Justice delayed is NOT justice denied. William Ewart Gladstone, a British prime minister in the 1800s, said that justice delayed is justice denied, and many Americans who see rampant injustice and immorality in our country today agree with him. But all of them are wrong. Justice delayed is evidence of the unsurpassed mercy of God. God wants all men to come to repentance (II Pet. 3:9), so He tolerates all manner of corruption, in America and throughout the world, in order to give us time to mend our ways.

That mercy is available to all men, every day. But remember, just as sure as there was a Justice Sunday in America this week, there will be Justice One Day for all men. “For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (II Cor. 5:10).

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